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I couldn’t wait for the final bell to ring. It was the day before winter break, which every high school kid looked forward too. Finally, that wonderful moment came. I bolted out of the room and ran to my locker to put my chemistry book away. Then I heard someone crying. At first, I just ignored it. But, for some reason, after a while, I couldn’t ignore it. I followed the noise down a few hallways, my heart oddly racing. And then I found where the sound was coming from. It was coming from an empty classroom. All of the lights were off, but I could hear a girl crying. I went for the door handle (luckily it was unlocked), and opened the door as quietly as I could. I heard a little gasp and then saw a girl looking up at me huddled in the corner. I took a few steps closer to her, and she scooted a little further back in to her corner, pulling her knees closer to her chest. She looked so scared, so helpless, so hurt.
“Are you all right?” I asked quietly, trying not to scare her. At first she said nothing. But then a little squeak escaped her mouth.
“I don’t buy it,” I said as I knelt down on my knees to reach her eye level. I could barely see her in the light, but she didn’t look good. I swear I saw a bruise on her left eye.
“I-I’m fine. R-Really, I am,” she stuttered. She put her head down, letting all of her short, choppy hair fall in to her face.
“I’m not gonna hurt you. I want to help,” I said, as sincerely as I could. I didn’t want her to think I was being sarcastic. She looked back up at me, and her big eyes met mine. I knew for sure she had a black eye now.
“Really?” She asked. She looked hopeful, and I saw a little smile. I smiled back at her and nodded. I started to stand up, and took her hand to help her up. She flinched a little bit, and stood up herself. I walked over to the light switch and turned it on. Oh my God.
This girl would be drop dead gorgeous if it weren’t for her broken body. She did have a black eye, but that wasn’t even the half of it. She had bruises up and down her arms, scratches across her right knee, and her hair was a tangled mess. I just stared at her for a moment, and she looked down at her feet quickly.
“W-What h-happened?” I whispered. I was still in a bit of shock.
“I was… I fell… D-Down the stairs,” she lied. Man, this girl was a terrible liar. I walked a little closer to her and grabbed her hand again. Her finger was broken. Now I know why she flinched.
“You’re lying. What… Who did this to you?” I asked, a little more defiantly now.
“It was just… I got in the way of these guys… And… And…” She couldn’t finish. I didn’t want her to. I put my free hand to my forehead. Who would do this to such a pretty, innocent, girl? It made me sick to my stomach.
“Let me take you to the nurse,” I suggested.
“NO!” She screamed, dropping my hand.
“I-I can’t! The nurse will ask questions! They said if I told anyone…” She stopped short again. I couldn’t believe this. I didn’t want to believe it.
“Why don’t I take you to my house? School’s over anyway,” I offered. She smiled again and nodded. I took her hand again, and led her outside. Some kids laughed at her, and I gave them dirty looks. How could anyone laugh at this?
We got to my old, beaten up car, and I opened up the passenger side door for her. She quickly sat down, and smiled up at me again. Man, she had a killer smile. I closed her door for her, and ran around to the driver’s side. I quickly started the car, unsure of what I was doing.
“So…uh… what’s your name?” I asked. I had just invited a girl over who I knew nothing about.
“Sophie,” she whispered, “What’s yours?”
“Evan,” I said simply. We sat in silence for a few moments. There were so many questions I wanted to ask her, but I knew I shouldn’t. We rode in silence the rest of the way to my house.
We finally got to my family’s little house in the middle of a crowded suburb. I quickly got out of the car, and opened her door for her, and helped her out. I looked at her, really looked at her, for a second. She was really something. Even with the bruises and scrapes. She caught me staring and cleared her throat. I walked her up to the front door, and fumbled around with my keys. God, she made me nervous. I finally got the key to go in to the door, and walked her inside. I told her to sit down on the couch in the living room, and I got us both some water. I sat down next to her, and took a deep breath.
“You didn’t have to do this you know,” she whispered. I stared at her in shock.
“No, I didn’t have to. I wanted to,” I answered back. Cliché, I know. But it was all I could think of.
“Is there any specific time you need to get home?” I asked her. She looked down at her feet quickly. She tucked her hair, which I could now see was dark brown, behind her ears.
“I… Don’t really… Have a home. My dad left my mom and I years ago. So it was just us, but we were ok. But then, she lost her job a few months ago. I guess… I guess that was too much pressure for her. She started drinking and all. Then, she just left. I went down to the homeless shelter. That’s my home,” she explained.
I just stared at her again. Damn it, didn’t anyone care about this poor girl?! She was homeless, no parents, and got beat up at school.
“You… You can stay here as long as you want,” I told her. I didn’t care if my parents said she couldn’t. She was staying.
“Are you sure? I don’t want to be a bother,” she whispered. After all she had been through, she was still so sweet and naïve. I nodded again and gave her a weak smile. She gave me a quick hug and thanked me many times.
“Come on, I’ll take you up to the guest room,” I said as I helped her off the couch. She limped a little bit, so I picked her up like a baby and carried her to the guest room. She giggled a little bit and rested her head on my chest. I think, for the first time in a long time, she felt safe. I quickly opened the door to our guest room and her face lit up. It wasn’t the nicest room, but it was better than what she was used to. I put her down on the bed, and she examined the room.
“I really can not thank you enough,” she said. She was all smiles now.
“You don’t have to thank me at all. I’m doing this because I want to, not because I have to,” I explained yet again.
“So, Sophie, tell me a little bit about yourself,” I said, sitting on the bed with her. We spent the next hour and a half getting to know each other. She wanted to be a pediatrician when she got older. I didn’t even want to go to college. She was so smart and dedicated for someone who was always put down.
Then came the moment I was dreading. I heard the car door of my parents’ car close, and heard them walking towards the door. Sophie heard it too, and gave me a look of uneasiness. I took her hand quickly and gave it a tight squeeze. We walked out to the living room, and we sat down on the couch.
My mom walked in first. My dad followed closely behind. Sophie squeezed my hand again, and I gave her a small smile. My parents looked over at me, and then right at Sophie.
“Evan? Who’s this?” My mom asked. She looked Sophie up and down, which I could tell made the poor girl uncomfortable.
“Mom, dad, this is Sophie. I… I told her she could stay with us,” I explained.
“H-Hello,” Sophie whispered.
“Evan, can I talk to you?” My dad asked.
He walked in to the kitchen, and I followed behind. I saw my mom take her coat off and sit down next to Sophie. My dad sat down at the kitchen table, and I sat at the opposite end. Just to be safe.
“All right, Evan. What’s the story?” He asked. Wow, dad. Way to get to the point.
“She’s homeless. She was beat up by these guys. I just… I want to help her out,” I said quietly. My dad looked out in to the living room at Sophie.
“For how long?” He asked.
“I don’t know. However long.”
“Evan…” He began. Please don’t say you’re kicking her out…
“I’m proud of you. It takes a good guy to take such a girl in. She can stay as long as she wants,” he said. He stood up and patted me on the shoulder, and then walked out in to the living room. I let out a sigh of relief and followed him.
Sophie and my mom were chatting on the couch, and Sophie looked a little more comfortable. My mom then looked at her wristwatch, and hopped off the couch.
“George, Evan, Sophie, I have to run. I forgot I have a big meeting to go to. I’ll be back before tomorrow,” she laughed as she ran out the door.
“Speaking of which, I have to run too. We need some groceries for dinner tonight. I’ll be back in a few minutes,” he said as he too ran outside.
“They’re very nice,” Sophie whispered.
“Yea. My mom’s never home. But my dad’s pretty good about being here,” I explained.
“Want to get settled in to your room?” I asked. She nodded, and began to stand up, but fell back on to the couch. I picked her up again and she let out that adorable giggle again. I put her down on the bed carefully.
“Evan, you’re too good to me,” She said. Man, when would she stop thanking me?
“Sophie, please. No more thank yous,” I told her. She looked down at her feet, and I sat next to her on the bed.
“So who were these guys?” I asked. I felt bad, but I had to know.
“Um… Evan… I-I really don’t think…”
“Sophie. Tell me,” I whispered to her. She looked really pained just thinking about them.
“Really, Evan. It’s no big deal.”
“Sophie, tell me!” I yelled. She looked completely shocked for a moment and flinched a little. I could tell she was thinking about something.